Out with the old…

So there goes 2011. Another year behind us, with all the experiences it brought. Honestly, I’m not sure where it all went.

But a lot has happened in the life of me, the vast majority of which has gone recorded in this blog. Looking back, I’m not sure where to start…

  • I finished university. Yep, after three long years of study, I finished my exams and in July graduated with an LLB from the University of Sussex. I’m as surprised as anyone, to be honest. But I even managed to cross the hall and receive my degree without tripping over. I have video evidence!
  • Having, at the beginning of the year only dreamed of it, I ended up standing for election this summer. Following the conservative incumbent’s resignation a mere five days after the local elections in May, I stood as Labour candidate for the ward of Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe. And despite the staunch blue shade of the local politics, I managed to poll well and come a not-too-distant third.
  • I’ve been writing, as always. I’ve only had the one story acceptance this year, sadly, but I put that mostly down to the need to focus on university for the first half of the year. One 2011’s highlights was definitely taking part in the excellent Halloween Shorts project, alongside my fellow writers Jennifer Williams, Kev Clarke and Andrew Reid.
  • For the last few months I’ve been volunteering, part-time, for the political blog Political Scrapbook. I’ve learnt a lot from it, and had the pleasure of working with a whole host of great people. Hopefully, the new year will herald the arrival of a “proper job” of some form.
  • I’ve also been volunteering with the local Scout group. Honestly, this was always likely to happen. I was a Scout as a child, my mother is a Cub leader, and the path towards the leader’s uniform has already been tread by my brother. But it’s a great experience, and hopefully I can make the difference in the lives of the lads I’m working with that my leaders made to me.
  • I have, after much procrastination, joined the British Fantasy Society. This was only a week ago, so not much has yet come of it, but I’m excited and inspired. And, of course, looking forward to my first FantasyCon, in September next year!
  • And finally, yesterday marked the end of a third year spent with my wonderful Ashleigh! We celebrated by spending the day in London, at the Saatchi Gallery and Forbidden Planet (of course!), followed by a beautiful meal at Manna vegetarian restaurant. I know it’s a cliché, but I couldn’t be happier.

So that’s the highlights of my personal year. I could have done a political rundown, or a writing run down, but there are other people doing that. For today, I want this to be a record of my year, of what I’ve managed, what I’ve tried, and where I stand on the cusp on 2012. I’ll start looking forwards tomorrow.

Farewell to 2010

Happy New Year to you all!

So another year’s over, and I’m left once again wondering where it actually went. Each year seems to pass in an even quicker blur the older I get. Still, at least it’s been a good one, all in all.

From my perspective, it started off well as the 3rd January saw my first acceptance of a piece of fiction- “Scorched Earth” sold to Pill Hill Press, and published in the anthology Four Horsemen. In terms of writing, it’s followed an equally high road really, with further acceptances throughout the year. All in all, I’m very happy with it, and you lovely people can look forward to a few more pieces of my fiction rearing their heads in the new year.

University, too, went well. I scored a respectable 2:1 in my second year, and going into my third I’m at once rather hopeful for my final grade and a little taken aback at the sheer amount of work involved. My workload has never been light, but the final year seems to have kicked it into overdrive, right of the blocks.

Socially, I’ve started this blog, and joined Twitter. Which could be either a positive or a negative, depending on what you think of my contributions to the online community. I must say I’ve enjoyed writing this blog, and have come into contact with some fantastic people through Twitter.

Of course, not all of the year has been so roaringly positive. There was a certain happening in May which didn’t go so brilliantly. But thanks to the disaster of the election, and the Tories once more in government and the treacherous Lib Dems as their lap dogs, I am finally a paid-up, card-carrying member of the Labour Party.

So going into 2011, here’s hoping it’s another year in the plus column. As is traditional, I have a few aims which I hope to achieve, and which I will now share with you lovely people:

  • Finish editing my novel. I actually wrote it years ago, but surprisingly still like the fundamental story. It’s going to need a heavy edit, but really I think the world may be ready for a historical vampire story set amid the political intrigues and bloodshed of the Spanish Civil War.
  • Keep my nose to the grindstone. I only have another two terms until I graduate, so I want to keep my workload up, and get as high a grade as I can. I’m not sure if I can manage a first, but it’s always possible, so I’ll keep at it.
  • Get as stuck in with Labour as I can. This next year is going to be filled with difficulty, for all people in society (myself included) and the best way to minimise it is for all of us to fight against unfair cuts together. I mean to do my bit.
  • Get fit. The drawback, I’ve found, of being a writer and a student, is that I’ve become something of a lardarse. So, I’m planning to go to the gym at least once a week. This is the most precarious resolution, as me and physical exercise have never gone exactly hand in hand, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to stick to it.

So there it is. My aims for the coming year. There’ll be others, doubtless (including getting a job, post-June) but as I set out this is where I’m going to be starting towards.

And to all of you, I wish that 2011 can bring you everything you want it to. I raise a glass in farewell to 2010, of whom only a few hours remain. It’s been a good year!